Toke for Toklas.
Ain’t no party like a Toklas party – if you didn’t know that, then you don’t know one of the most important chapters of gay pride and cannabis.
As we round up Pride Month, it’s time to reflect on the contributions of feminist, chef, and cannabis fan Alice B. Toklas, the longtime partner of Gertruide Stein and all-around badass who stormed Paris’ salon scene and helped set the stage for the modern LGBTQ+ movement.
On Sunday in San Francisco, the nation’s top Democratic leaders and preeminent LGBTQ+ activists gathered with hundreds of supporters for the annual Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club’s Pride Breakfast, a must-attend event for anyone shaping LGBTQ+ public policy.
On the scene: Speaker Nancy Pelosi clapping back with pride, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris rocking rainbow sequins, and spirited remarks by California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kouranakis and Senator Scott Wiener, sponsor of compassionate care bill SB 34. Naturally, Eaze was there, flying the flag for cannabis legalization and gay
rights as part of our month-long celebration of pride.
The Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club (or Alice, as it’s fondly known) was the first registered political organization for LGBTQ+ people in America. Formed in 1971, just two years after the Stonewall riots, Alice has elevated politicians, allies, and policies since the movement’s earliest days. It’s also been at the epicenter of pivotal moments in LGBTQ+ history, including Harvey Milk’s election and assassination, the AIDS epidemic, same-sex marriages at SF City Hall in 2004, and California’s fight against Proposition 8.
How does Toklas fit in? Born in San Francisco in 1877, she survived the city’s 1906 earthquake then relocated to Paris in 1907. On her second day in the City of Lights she met famed writer Gertruide Stein – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Stein and Toklas fell in love and for the next 40 years dominated Paris’ artistic scene (when not driving ambulances during WWI), hosting some of the city’s most celebrated salons which included Ernest Hemingway, Paul Bowles, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse.
Toklas gained fame first as the subject of Stein’s best-selling book “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” and years later – not to be outdone by her beloved – published a self-titled cookbook famous for its “Haschich Fudge” recipe of fruits, nuts, and cannabis sativa. Here’s the original 1954 “food of paradise” recipe, appropriate for (ahem) “a Ladies’ Bridge Club or [Daughters of
the American Revolution] chapter meeting:”
Today, cannabis continues its long intersection with LGBTQ+ politics with the push to restore compassionate care programs to California through SB 34, a bill sponsored by Senator Wiener.
Compassionate care, a cornerstone of the cannabis legalization movement, was a fundamental principle behind California’s medical cannabis collective model for two decades. But with the advent of the state’s regulations, the ability of cannabis businesses to provide free cannabis goods to patients was severely restricted.
This has left many thousands of low-income patients without access to affordable and legal medicine, an ironic and unacceptable byproduct of cannabis legalization which must be remedied. Learn more about this important legislation here.
The LGBTQ and cannabis access movements stand on the shoulders of people like Toklas, who lived out and proud over 60 years before Stonewall. You can learn more about incredible her life here.
At Eaze, we’re thrilled to honor today’s activists, and help tell the stories of pioneers like Toklas, whose life and work helps us all #GrowTogether.
Darius Kemp (L) and Peter Gigante (R) celebrate with CA Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kouranakis at the Alice Pride Breakfast in San Francisco: